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Tesla's Model S Gets Bragging Rights

But despite kudos from a car mag, it's still a well-off man's car at a rich man's price

1 min read
Tesla's Model S Gets Bragging Rights

Being the first all-electric  electric-drive  winner of Motor Trend mag’s "Car of the Year" award gives Tesla’s Model S bragging rights that even a non-techie can love. What’s more, it validates what Mitt Romney had dismissed as a “loser” company as one with a future in the marketplace.

As actual techies, we here at Spectrumloved the company even before the first production model of its inaugural car, the Tesla Roadster, hit the road. When it finally did enter the showroom, we gave it more love with a berth on our "Top Ten Tech Cars."

That Roadster’s six-figure price and two-seat capacity made it a impulse buy for hedge-fund managers, the kind of toy you generally see only in Palm Beach or on the cover of one of the glossy auto buff books that populate the news stands. But as its name suggests, the new S is a sedan, and it can seat an entire family—up to seven people, the company claims. And it goes for the low, low price of $90 000.

Now we’re talking. This baby is for the masses—of moderately successful investment bankers, at any rate. Or child-rearing cosmetic surgeons.

The idea, of course, is to establish the car, ramp up production, realize economies of scale, and slowly bring down the price of future models that use some of the same parts. If it ever gets to around $50K, expect an all-electric car that can perform like a BMW to begin selling like one.

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We Need More Than Just Electric Vehicles

To decarbonize road transport we need to complement EVs with bikes, rail, city planning, and alternative energy

11 min read
A worker works on the frame of a car on an assembly line.

China has more EVs than any other country—but it also gets most of its electricity from coal.

VCG/Getty Images

EVs have finally come of age. The total cost of purchasing and driving one—the cost of ownership—has fallen nearly to parity with a typical gasoline-fueled car. Scientists and engineers have extended the range of EVs by cramming ever more energy into their batteries, and vehicle-charging networks have expanded in many countries. In the United States, for example, there are more than 49,000 public charging stations, and it is now possible to drive an EV from New York to California using public charging networks.

With all this, consumers and policymakers alike are hopeful that society will soon greatly reduce its carbon emissions by replacing today’s cars with electric vehicles. Indeed, adopting electric vehicles will go a long way in helping to improve environmental outcomes. But EVs come with important weaknesses, and so people shouldn’t count on them alone to do the job, even for the transportation sector.

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